A whole lot of nothing

4 thoughts on “A whole lot of nothing”

  1. “First thought, best thought.”

    This was a Zen Buddhist teaching that Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac tried to put into their writing in the mid-50s.

    It reflects the Buddhist principle of first emptying the mind of random, useless information through sitting and meditation.

    Then letting thoughts/observations/ sensations flow back in. These are written down as they are experienced unimpeded by self-censorship and other distractions.

    First thought, best thought.

    Snyder has stayed with Zen throughout his life.

    Kerouac did not have the temperament or patience to stay with the practice. Although he modified the idea through his own attempts at “spontaneous writing.” These came out mostly as little poems.


  2. I should add for literary clarity that Allen Ginsberg, fellow Beat poet and great pal of Kerouac, popularized “first thought, best thought.”

    He extended it for years through his own spontaneous poetry.


  3. When nothing is becoming words written it is becoming something. Perhaps we might not see but often others do, at least that keeps me writing about this n that


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